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Author Archives: WSS News

San Bernardino Public Library Board President Dr. Clark named Best California Library Trustee by the California Public Library Advocates

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- As a child growing up in San Bernardino, Dr. Milton Clark’s weekly Saturday visits to the central library on Arrowhead to read started him on a path of academic achievement that culminated in his earning a Ph.D. and a distinguished academic career as a faculty member for more than 30 years before retiring as the Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Studies at Cal State San Bernardino.

He has also returned his fondness for public libraries and their value in communities such as San Bernardino by serving on the San Bernardino Public Library Board of Trustees since 2005 and as its president since 2007. That time period marked a decade of the city’s economic challenges since the national economic crash of 2008 that culminated in San Bernardino filing for bankruptcy in 2012.

The economic challenges SBPL faced in that timespan resulted in several budget cuts which threatened the closure of the Howard Rowe, Dorothy Inghram and Paul Villaseñor Branch Libraries in 2009, 2012 and 2014.

Dr. Clark’s leadership and advocacy working with the other trustees has been instrumental in keeping those libraries open, according to San Bernardino Public Library Director Ed Erjavek. The members of the SBPL Board of Trustees are city residents who volunteer their time without compensation to administratively govern the library with the funding amount allocated by the Mayor and City Council.

His leadership and advocacy were honored earlier this month as he was named the Best California Library Trustee for outstanding service to a specific library system by the California Public Library Advocates (CPLA) during an awards dinner at the California Library Association’s annual conference in Riverside. CPLA seeks to strengthen California libraries through advocacy and education.

“Dr. Clark is most deserving of this honor since I doubt there’s a Library Board President in the country who has done as much in advocating for their library system in the last decade, “ said Erjavek, who nominated him for the award. “His leadership and passion for library service in San Bernardino have been instrumental in helping to preserve library service in this community. I tell people he is the finest Library Board President in America. He was the right man to lead the Library Board of Trustees during this last challenging decade in San Bernardino.”

“I’m not sure what motivates the other Board members, but my passion for this institution is deep rooted.  I grew up in San Bernardino, and as a young child, I used to walk to the library on Saturday morning and lose myself among the stacks of books.  Those visits to the library gave me a glimpse into a broader world than the one to which I was confined living in the de facto segregated city of San Bernardino,” Clark said, when reminiscing about his childhood in his acceptance speech. Among the dinner attendees were California State Librarian Greg Lucas, family and friends of Dr. Clark, and Board Vice President Carolyn Tillman and Secretary Val Lichtman. Dr. Tom Rennard is also a member of the Board.

“In part, because of the library, I went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in English at California State College, San Bernardino,” he continued.  “I subsequently went on to earn a Master’s degree and then a Ph. D at UC Riverside.  Because San Bernardino had a Public Library, the world of opportunity was opened up to me. It is my duty, my responsibility, and my honor to make that same amazing resource available to the citizens of my city, young and old.”

SBPL had an annual budget of almost $3 million and 31 full-time staff position in 2008 before the national economic crash but the budget had been reduced to a little over $1.7 million in 2014 when the library was facing a proposed cut of $1 million, which would have not only closed the branch libraries but even operations at the Feldheym Central Library might not have been possible with a budget cut of that size.

Thanks to the leadership and advocacy of Dr. Clark and the other library board members and an alternative budget proposal from Erjavek – the library was allocated almost $1.4 million of annual funding for FY 14-15 by the Mayor and Common Council which resulted in full-time staff being reduced to 10 and zero city dollars for books and library materials but at least the weekly 37 public service hours at Feldheym and the 20 weekly hours at each of the three branches were retained.

Erjavek wrote in his nomination: “He has volunteered his time waiting to speak (often for more hours sitting on hard plastic chairs than he would care to recall) to the city’s mayor and city council at many a budget meeting during the last 10 years to give a voice for the voiceless for the importance of library service in this community.  Dr. Clark is keenly sensitive to continuing library service to the underserved and underprivileged who are many in this city and those who may not have the means to go to another library if their neighborhood branch closed.”

High Desert NAACP Chapter Holds Annual Freedom Fundraiser Banquet

VICTORVILLE, CA- On Friday, November 3, the Hilton Garden Inn in Victorville hosted the NAACP Branch 1082 Annual Freedom Fund Dinner. The evening featured a delicious full course meal, exciting musical sounds by local band Willie Cockrell “Strings ‘n Things”. The event was ‘sold out’ as many community members, leaders and organizations gathered in recognition of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization.

NAACP President Bill Thomas warmly welcomed everyone, as Jiles Smith was introduced as MC for the evening. A few noted representatives and organizations in attendance included Supervisor Robert Lovingood, Delta Sigma Theta, NCNW, San Bernardino Sherriff’s Department, Burning Bush Church, Emmanuel Temple and First Missionary Baptist Church.

Shonda Scott, an entrepreneur, community leader and activist was introduced by Windsor Richmond, Anthem/Blue Cross Field Sales Manager, as keynote speaker for the evening. Scott is the CEO of 360 Total Concept, a corporation based in Northern California that provides services to organizations needing support with program management, communications, contract compliance, logistics and general management. 

Scott, passionately shared her journey as becoming involved in community service during her early years. Raised by her father, a college professor and mother a retired Navy Officer, they each instilled in her the importance of serving her community and making a positive difference. 

Scott commented, “Though I was too young to vote, my parents would often have me ‘phone bank’ and distribute flyers” along with many other miscellaneous tasks”. Scott humbly performed her duties that would later define her attitude and approach to politics. The early on work ethics experience attributed to Scott’s career lead to serving alongside great leaders such as Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Senator Kamala Harris including working with Pres. Barak Obama’s Whitehouse platform committee.

Scott encouraged the audience, specifically the youth to become in her words “Disrupters” in their communities. Further clarifying her statement, she closely described the meaning, “”Disrupters” as prioritizing justice, equality and the integrity of the political process, not to settle for the ‘status quo’. She further stated, “Dr. Martin Luther King was a ‘Disrupter’, Rosa Parks, John F. Kennedy and many other great historical leaders that made tremendous strides to better our nation”. “We would not be where we are today without these prolific “Disrupters”. It is a reality that we have to cultivate the next generation to maintain what many have fought and died for. Scott continued to comment regarding today’s youth saying, “If we are hosting events and the room is not half filled with young people or if we are not teaching our youth wisdom and knowledge on how to become positive “Disrupters”, then their outcome is our fault, and that’s the truth”. 

Shonda Scott is the embodiment of an empowered woman, who grew up in an ordinary family and made extraordinary developments in her career. She is an ‘Agent of Change’, dedicated to serving her community, as she inspires and influences us all. Concluding her speech, she exited the stage amid a standing ovation. 

An exciting highlight for the evening was the introduction of youth from the Millionaire Minds Kids Program and other young achievers. Standing onstage, they each had an opportunity to share their education and career goals/achievements. Their impressive career choices included accomplishments with obtaining degrees in the various fields of Medical, Engineering and Legal Studies.

An Inspiring student commented that her sibling, a previous NAACP recipient, was not in attendance due to her on- duty employment as a Pilot for a major airline carrier. They each vowed to continue being positive “Disrupters” of their generation as they took photos with speaker Shonda Scott.

Former NAACP Scholarship Recipients Attorneys, Phyllis Morris-Green, San Bernardino County Public Defender and Garner C. Morris, Jr. Deputy District Attorney, Santa Clara, CA were acknowledged. Both have excelled immensely in their chosen fields. 

Peggy Moore, Chair for the NAACP Scholarship committee was introduced by MC-Jiles Smith.   Acknowledging the past recipient’s success stories, Smith thereby challenged the audience, requesting donations to assist students with their future academic scholarships. Eager and generous hands began to spontaneously wave checks in the air donating contributions that will create college access and success for many motivated youth and young adults. 

Award recipients were recognized for their outstanding community service; Charley and Evelyn Glasper- (Political and Educational Achievement); Cara Denise Hutson (Judicial Excellence); Regina Weatherspoon-Bell – (Community Service).

The NAACP wishes to recognize and thank these outstanding sponsors for the event, Platinum Sponsors-The GEO Group, Frontier Communications, Gold Sponsor-Edible Arrangements.

Table Sponsors included Attorneys Jim Terrell/Sharon J. Brunner; Burning Bush Church; City of Adelanto; Delta Sigma Theta; Emmanuel Temple; First Missionary Baptist Church; Mr. & Ms. Rick Hudson; Mr. & Ms. Garner Morris; San Bernardino County Sheriff Dept.; NAACP President Mr. & Ms. Bill Thomas; Mr. & Ms. Charley Glasper; Mrs. LaVern Scriven; Ms. Yolande Culbreth; Ms. Gloria Roberts.

Special thanks to Mrs. Terry Thomas, Chairperson of the Freedom Fund Banquet and her outstanding committee. 

On behalf of High Desert/Inland Valley News, we wish to applaud NAACP-High Desert Branch 1082 for their outstanding efforts in making the Annual Freedom Fundraiser Dinner a great success!

CEIS to Tap $1.1 Million Grant to Fund Scholarships for Special Ed Teachers

POMONA, CA- The College of Education & Integrative Studies (CEIS) has received a $1.1 million federal grant to help alleviate the shortage of special education teachers in Southern California.

The U.S. Department of Education grant will offer full-tuition scholarships for new post- baccalaureate students wishing to pursue their first teaching credential in moderate/severe special education or adapted physical education authorization and their master’s degrees in special education or adapted physical education. The grant will potentially fund 63 scholarships over the course of five years.

“This award will enable Cal Poly Pomona to provide much needed scholarships to students pursuing careers in education, specifically those wanting to work with youths with special needs,” University President Soraya M. Coley said. “The funding also will give the university an opportunity to assist with a persistent problem that has had a significant impact across the state— the shortage of special education teachers.”

Students also will receive funding for textbooks, professional conference attendance and technology for use in the program and future use in their classrooms. In addition, the experience will be transdisciplinary for students and include work across the education and adapted physical education programs to mimic the professional collaboration they will experience once they are teachers.

Currently, 49 of 50 states in the U.S. report special education teacher shortages, including California,” said Heather Wizikowski, project director and assistant professor in CEIS. “Fifty- one percent of districts nationally and 90 percent of high-poverty area districts report having difficulty attracting quality special education teachers. In addition, special education teachers leave the profession at almost double the rate of general education teachers after just a few years of teaching. California desperately needs quality teachers to teach students with disabilities.

According to the California Department of Education, teacher education enrollment in special education has rapidly declined over the past several years. Enrollment went from 36,577 in 2009 to 18,894 in 2014.

“Special education teacher shortages compounded by declining enrollment in credential programs have been a pressing issue in our region over the past few years,” said Joanne Van Boxtel, co-director and assistant professor in CEIS. “I am very excited to be working with a dedicated team of colleagues on a project that will be of such benefit to future special education teachers and our regional district partners.”

In addition to increasing the number of new special education teachers, the project also seeks to prepare fully credentialed adapted physical educators to teach physical education to students with disabilities. According to California law, physical education must be accessible to students with disabilities who qualify for special education services.

“Adapted physical education services are needed to assist students with disabilities,” said Beth Foster, co-director and assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Health Promotion. “Successful inclusion is far more complicated than placing the students in that setting. The placement and service of physical education must be based on the students’ unique needs.”

The new grant coincides with a previous grant obtained by Van Boxtel and Wizikowski, along with Christina Chavez-Reyes, liberal studies department chair, to design a new undergraduate program called the Integrated Teacher Education Program (ITEP). ITEP offers a combined bachelor’s degree and credential program for students desiring an education specialist credential. According to Van Boxtel, the program will feature inclusive practices for students with disabilities, innovative technology and tools, and early field experiences. Students can graduate with their degrees and teaching credential in only four years. ITEP enrollment begins Fall 2018.

“I am thrilled that CEIS will be able to better serve the children and families of this region who deserve the very best educational experiences that address the needs of students with disabilities,” said CEIS Dean Jeff Passe.”

For more information about either program, email hewizikowski@cpp.edu or jmvanboxtel@cpp.edu.